Half a badminton court….
… read to the bottom to find out what this has to do with your immune system!
Most of us know what we need to do in daily life to remain healthy. Eating right, exercise, sleeping regularly, and having proper elimination are just a few of the activities that come to mind, but there’s another level to think about. There is a tiny yet expansive world inside each of us which is populated by bacteria that have a powerful impact on human health, vitality, and longevity. These tiny organisms help us to live by making processes inside our bodies possible.
Yes, today we are talking about gut health and PROBIOTICS – the bacteria, and sometimes yeast, that live in our digestive system, our lungs, inside our genitourinary tract and even on our skin. For now we’ll take a little look at these microbes that live in our digestive system. They are often divided into two main groups.
These bacteria are generally helpful because they are responsible for many of the processing functions. Some of these bacteria such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus, are related to breaking down sugars into lactic acid. Lactic acid is one substance made in the body that is helpful in the fight against harmful strains of bacteria. There is also evidence that suggests that there are a few disorders that can be caused by a lack of these bacterial populations.
Modern advances have brought us the amazing progress in medicine with antibiotics, but studies have shown that antibiotics tend to have a harmful effect on the good or ‘helpful’ populations of gut flora, so it might be necessary to supplement the bacteria by ingesting alternate sources of Lactobacillus. What can you do to combat these losses?
Many of these helpful strains can be found in probiotic rich foods such as yoghurt (natural, unsweetened), kefir, miso and other fermented food types. You can even find them from microbrewed beers if they haven’t been preserved when bottled! There are also a number of probiotic supplements available.
Scientists now believe that over 3/4 of our immune system is in our intestinal tract. And there are possibly over 1000 different species of bacteria in the human gut. With such a large population of bacteria living in us, it makes sense that we depend on them so heavily for the various functions they serve on a daily basis. Many Bifido bacteria reside within the colon and large intestine and are responsible for energy production. These bacteria play a heavy role in controlling elimination, aiding in digestion, and even have the ability to repair damage from carcinogenic sources in the body.
I was listening to a lecture on the gut microbiome by Liz Lipski and I wanted to share with you something she said that makes it so easy to understand: “It’s the life in food that gives us life”.
People used to eat a lot of fermented and cultured food but now we have fridges and processed food so we no longer get enough live food. This vast expanse within us, known as our gut – the total surface area of which is around the size of HALF A BADMINTON COURT (!!!!) – is vital to ensuring we are strong and healthy, so control what you can and try and eat a little probiotic food each day.
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